Posted on March 28, 2009
Here's how the race will unfold -update | James Allen on F1 – The official James Allen website on F1

The fuel weights have been published by the FIA for the first time, under the new rules for this season.

There are some very interesting things here. For a start the Brawn cars are, as we expected, massively quick, given that Jenson Button’s car has 22 laps worth of fuel in it (59 kilos).

Allowing for the fuel he will need to get to the grid and do the formation lap, this means Jenson will probably make his first stop on lap 20.

Barrichello will go one lap longer, to 21. This is quite a long first stint for a two stop strategy.

Knowing this we can say that Jenson did a stunning job today in the final part of qualifying as the extra fuel he’s carrying will have given him less than a tenth of a second of lap time compared to Rubens and yet he is three tenths faster.

Rubens liked the car more on low fuel in the early part of qualifying, Jenson liked it more in heavy fuel mode. He will be on his own tomorrow in the race.

Sebastien Vettel, who qualified third, will probably go to lap 18, the same as Nico Rosberg. This means that the Red Bull is a couple of tenths faster than the Williams.

Meanwhile the Ferraris are in trouble, Massa has only 18 laps of fuel in his car, so he’ll get to lap 16 and yet he was 8/10ths off Button, who has 3/10ths of a weight disadvantage. That puts the Ferrari a second slower in quali trim today. Raikkonen has a similar amount as his team mate and was a tenth slower.

Kubica’s lap looks less stellar when you realise that he is running light – he will be stopping on lap 15.

Button should control the race, reliability is his only competitor tomorrow. Barrichello has more than enough speed to stay ahead of Vettel and Rosberg who will be fighting for a podium.

Massa is the driver to watch. Ferrari had a bad time in qualifying, but the car is strong in race trim. Massa moves forward to 6th on the grid after Glock’s exclusion and he has a good shot at a podium from there to get his championship campaign off to a strong start. If anything goes wrong for the Brawn cars he could well pick up the win. The Ferrari should prove a faster race car than qualifier here.

UPDATES: I’ll be doing a Twitter feed during the race, with my take on what’s going on. Look out for it here on “JAonF1″ [ in the sidebar on the right ]

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Here's how the race will unfold -update
109 Responses

  1.   1. Posted By: Moog
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 11:43 am 

    James, at the start of Q3, I saw a shot of the Ferrari pit and it looked as thought it had the traffic lights setup, can you confirm if Ferrari (or any other teams) will be using a traffic light system during the pitstops?

    [Reply]


  2.   2. Posted By: Martin P
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 11:46 am 

    Brilliant analysis James – not only the best but the first to get it out here for us. One question though for a maths dimwit like me – if the status quo was maintained in relative car development, but Vettel got a revised diffuser from Spain, would that make the Red Bull quicker than the Brawn?

    [Reply]


  3.   3. Posted By: Neil
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 11:47 am 

    As good as your analysis is James, I don’t like what we have here. The suspense is gone and no doubt I couldn’t avoid it even if I didn’t visit F1 websites because the commentators will be talking about it tomorrow.

    I hope the decision to publish this info is reversed, it takes something away from the spectacle of watching the race.

    [Reply]


  4.   4. Posted By: Eric
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 11:49 am 

    Thanks for the invaluable insights again James. Where are these fuel weights to be found on the FIA website?

    [Reply]


  5.   5. Posted By: @PaulNUK
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 11:53 am 

    The published fuel loads have finally shown the Brawn’s pace is real. I am stunned. 10kg more fuel than Massa and almost a second faster in qualifying.

    By the way, great to see you on Twitter James.

    [Reply]


  6.   6. Posted By: Pablo
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 11:56 am 

    Firstly – great site James, I’m really enjoying the technical insights you are now free to give… understandably on TV you were having to take account of a less well informed audience.

    I wondered if there is already a paddock feeling about how long KERS will stick around? do you think some of the teams will be slinging all the development work aside early in the season and concentrating on getting the ballast as far forward as possible?

    I’ve not heard anything about the movable front wing rule – is it in use down there?

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  7.   7. Posted By: Si
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 11:59 am 

    Fascinating stuff but I can’t help thinking that taking away some of the mystery over fuel loads, kers, etc makes it feel like it will all be that much more predictable and less exciting to watch. Sounds like it will be a bit of a procession tomorrow but quite a revolution. I can’t think of a recent sporting upheaval quite like it.

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  8.   8. Posted By: Peter
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 12:00 pm 

    Tyre management will be quite an issue tomorrow as well…maybe KERS at the start and safety car (?)…, but Brawn is clearly a head without any weekpoints.

    [Reply]


  9.   9. Posted By: Ali
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 12:04 pm 

    But James, Button is 2 kg lighter than Barichello isn’t he?

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  10.   10. Posted By: alex m
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 12:12 pm 

    Many thanks for the info, and insight, but I am not sure I like to know this, F1 is a game of smoke and mirrors and I think we are seeing and knowing to much.

    It may however, shut up quite a few of the online idiots who seem to believe they know more about everything than the teams….

    [Reply]


  11.   11. Posted By: Fuelman
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 12:12 pm 

    James, you might want to check your calcs again; I’m pretty sure they won’t go that far in the first stint.

    [Reply]


  12.   12. Posted By: Liquid
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 12:13 pm 

    Well.. this seems to be quite interesting.. im liking the publishing the weight part :)

    [Reply]


  13.   13. Posted By: Alex Andronov
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 12:18 pm 

    As the Ferraris have KERS I think they might do well off the line, especially as they are light.

    [Reply]


  14.   14. Posted By: Robert McKay
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 12:24 pm 

    Agreed – the mystery/suspense of not knowing till race day was minimal, precisely because people had analysed it anyway to a decent degree. Plus you never were sure how good a quali lap was – now we can be.

    [Reply]


  15.   15. Posted By: Hein
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 12:34 pm 

    Should be mentioned that Kubica wasn’t running kers so he’s base weight would have been lower than those with kers so maybe he’s not so light after all

    [Reply]


  16.   16. Posted By: Wingers
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 12:44 pm 

    And now with the Toyotas disqualified someone like Alonso, has the benefit of knowing exactly how long his rivals just in front of him will go into the race and can plan accordingly!

    I have no problem with that as a fan of the Spaniard… but it seems like quite an unfair advantage for someone who didn’t make 3rd qualifying?

    I still say.. Keep the fuel out in all 3 sessions, and if the FIA really really must disclose the fuel… Then do it once the cars are on the startline and fueled to start the race.

    Anyways, crazy start to the season thus far! Looking forward to tomorrows race

    [Reply]


  17.   17. Posted By: Silas Denyer
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 12:44 pm 

    @Hein: the “base weight” remains the same for all cars. If you run KERS then that just fixes where some of your “ballast” is going to be. If you don’t run KERS then you can put the ballast wherever is most advantageous to you.

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  18.   18. Posted By: Colin
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 12:44 pm 

    It will be fascinating to see if your race prediction will be as accurate as your qualifying forecast.

    Rubens put the lost 3/10ths down to understeer; it could easily have been tyre pressure, or weight balance. But I wonder if it is due to the “gentler” driving style of Jenson?

    They both race at about the same level, both having crumpled quite a few cars in their careers, but I’m guessing Rubens has learned more than Jenson, and will have a wiser head in the fray.

    Got wind of any unofficial team orders?

    Best man wins?

    [Reply]


  19.   19. Posted By: Oscar
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 12:46 pm 

    I think unless KERS equipped cars deliver some overtaking advantage tomorrow the whole ideas gonna be ditched very quickly. It seems that KERS has offered no advantage in qualifying, the cars at the top of the grid don’t have it. I’d expect from Shanghai onwards no cars will be running KERS. We’ll have to wait and see, I hope I’m wrong and we get some good action from it. Unfortunaly I’ve got a feeling it’s going to turn out to be a massive waste of money.

    [Reply]


  20.   20. Posted By: Rodrigo Lamas
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 12:48 pm 

    I wonder what James will say if Barrichello wins the race, which is quite likely specially if we have some early safety cars.

    [Reply]


  21.   21. Posted By: Filip Cleeren
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 12:49 pm 

    Hein, a car’s base weight (with driver, without fuel) is always 605kg, KERS or not. Cars running without KERS simply add more ballast.

    Excellent analysis by the way.

    [Reply]


  22.   22. Posted By: Colin
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 12:49 pm 

    Re: fuel load. The educated guesses commentators made in previous seasons were pretty accurate, so we did actually know when drivers would be stopping. I think JA and MB used to get inside information from the fuel-rig jockeys.

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  23.   23. Posted By: Alianora La Canta
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 12:50 pm 

    Kubica’s base weight will have to be at least 600kg, KERS or no KERS. The weight taken by KERS on Heidfeld’s car will be used by ballast and possibly part of Kubica.

    Some people are clearly one-stopping while others are two-stopping. However, I believe Williams and/or the FIA did a typo on Nakajima’s fuel. Otherwise he’s got about -6 laps of fuel on board…

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  24.   24. Posted By: Alianora La Canta
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 12:53 pm 

    To explain, Nakajima’s weight is given as 612.7 kg. The next lightest car (Kubica’s) is 650.1 kg. James Allen appears to be using a fuel consumption of between 1.5kg and 2.0kg (it’s not shown in the entry, but the gaps between weights and laps indicates it must be in that range). Well, calculating backwards from Kubica’s weight, Nakajima’s fuel would last between minus 11 and minus 6 laps. Clearly no car will ever be fuelled to do fewer than one lap in a race because it would be completely pointless. So I think there may have been a typo involved…

    [Reply]


  25.   25. Posted By: Ace
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 12:53 pm 

    I really like the idea of publishing weights, for those who dnt like it dnt worry it will still be an exciting race. We will find out who is quick off the line, we might see a few kers vs non kers battles. Driver battles which i think should be interesting Vettel vs kubica and massa vs kimi. I have a feeling Lewis might catch Heikki as he is lighter and old Heikki might get told to let Lewis through.

    [Reply]


  26.   26. Posted By: Damo
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 12:56 pm 

    Just a quick question regarding the weights: I saw on the Autosport website that people who hadn’t got through to Q2 or even Q3 were often heavier than those who were in Q3. Maybe I’m missing something, but surely the teams should be running as light as possible in Q1 and Q2 before putting race fuel in for Q3…

    [Reply]


  27.   27. Posted By: KAB
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 12:59 pm 

    Just want to say I hope a lot of people realise that your voice was suited to the commentary role. I still get goose bumps for your commentary when Raikkonen achieved pole at Monaco 2005, where you shouted “Half a second!” and last years Brazilian GP when Vettel overtook Hamilton!

    [Reply]


  28.   28. Posted By: Colin
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 12:59 pm 

    Good point Alex!

    We’ve yet to see what difference the vaunted extra 80hp on tap will make from a standing start.

    But hang on a minute…

    Will the KERS have stored up 80hp after just a warm up lap trickling round?

    Will the KERS cars have to perform special antics on the warm-up lap to charge the KERS system?

    Should be a riveting first lap.

    And with the field so bunched on times, careful intelligent use of the Power Button could make a big difference, especially combined with using back-markers to delay non-KERS cars.

    [Reply]


  29.   29. Posted By: Kalle
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 1:11 pm 

    Actually, all cars have to weight the same, KERS or no KERS. Fuel loads (and only fuel loads) are what makes the difference.

    [Reply]


  30.   30. Posted By: Shaun
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 1:15 pm 

    Well done Jense, Rubens, Ross and all the guys at Brackley. I’m sorry to hear so many guys will be layed off after producing such a wonderful car, especially when it is done in the name of cost cutting yet the KERS initiative seems to have cost the paddock so much.

    Speaking of which, I can’t find the link to the fuel weights but looking at the car weights it shows Jenson on 664kg and Massa at 654kg. How does KERS fit in with this? Is Massa not only light on fuel at the moment but also going to lose performance carrying the weight of the KERS device throughout the race?

    [Reply]


  31.   31. Posted By: Colin
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 1:17 pm 

    Eric: Here’s the data made public on another well-known website:

    Below is the weight of each car following qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix, sorted by grid position.

    Pos. Driver Car weight
    1. Jenson Button 664.5kg
    2. Rubens Barrichello 666.5kg
    3. Sebastien Vettel 657kg
    4. Robert Kubica 650kg
    5. Nico Rosberg 657kg
    6. Felipe Massa 654kg
    7. Kimi Raikkonen 655.5kg
    8. Mark Webber 662kg
    9. Nick Heidfeld 691.5kg
    10. Fernando Alonso 680.7kg
    11. Kazuki Nakajima 685.3kg
    12. Heikki Kovalainen 690.6kg
    13. Sebastien Buemi 675.5kg
    14. Nelson Piquet 694.1kg
    15. Giancarlo Fisichella 689kg
    16. Adrian Sutil 684.5kg
    17. Sebastien Bourdais 662.5kg
    18. Lewis Hamilton 655kg
    19. Jarno Trulli 660kg
    20. Timo Glock 670kg

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  32.   32. Posted By: Shaun
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 1:19 pm 

    ignore the comment about KERS – whilst I was looking around to try to find the answers some of you guys have already given it.

    Not only insightful blog, there are insightful readers too! Definitely the first place to come for informed opinion!!

    [Reply]


  33.   33. Posted By: Colin
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 1:20 pm 

    You’re right Ali, but Our James is doing a terrific job keeping all those plates spinning on those poles.

    They may wobble, but they won’t fall.

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  34.   34. Posted By: JayTee
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 1:22 pm 

    Colin: My understanding is that the teams can charge the KERS up in the garage.

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  35.   35. Posted By: Andy Fov
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 1:22 pm 

    I don’t like the move to make this data public.

    Now we’re watching the race, if we KNOW the car in P1 has 2 laps more fuel than the car in front of it, then that makes for a boring 20 minutes.

    With a degree of uncertainty I could be watching thinking “perhaps he had two laps more fuel? Perhaps he’ll take him on strategy?” – not any more. :(

    I don’t see how access to this data heightens the spectacle. It achieves the opposite.

    [Reply]


  36.   36. Posted By: Tom
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 1:23 pm 

    I hope someone in the top 6 tries to get in among the Brawns, or they could just disappear off…I’d love to see them win, but I’d also like to see some racing.

    Any chance of Kubica or Massa starting on soft tyres for a bit of extra speed – would they last 18 laps?

    [Reply]


  37.   37. Posted By: Patrice Ici
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 1:24 pm 

    Very interesting…

    BTW, am I the only one who was *furious* about the BBC cutting away from the press conference after Jenson Button said his thing? ITV were notorious for doing this, especially if H******n won the race (no chance of that tomorrow :) .
    As it was only the qualifying, I suppose I’ll let them off, but if this happens tomorrow…. *fume*

    [Reply]


  38.   38. Posted By: JayTee
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 1:25 pm 

    Oscar: Where can I get hold of a list of who was using KERS and who wasn’t at the quali?

    [Reply]


  39.   39. Posted By: mfelat
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 1:28 pm 

    Everyone runs as light as possible in Q1 and Q2. But the ones who continues to Q3 made their race fule load decision just before Q3, whereas the others do the decision after the qualifying.

    [Reply]


  40.   40. Posted By: Colin
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 1:29 pm 

    I’m sure James will be just as delighted if Rubens wins, rather than Jenson. Despite driving for the “enemy” for so many years, Rubens is much loved in the UK because of his pre-F1 racing in Blighty, and his time at Stewart Racing. (We count him as one of us.)

    Much like Pedro Rodriguez was.

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  41.   41. Posted By: JayTee
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 1:32 pm 

    ”Button should control the race”

    Come on James … Barrichello is as hungry as Jason to get this win. He won’t make it easy.

    I expect Rubens to try his best to be in front right on the first corner.

    As someone else already said it here, Barrichello has a lot more experience being in front and in the front row.

    For Button this is still quite a virgin territory.

    [Reply]


  42.   42. Posted By: Moog
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 1:36 pm 

    Teams are allowed to pre-charge their KERS device prior to going to the grid.
    KERS however cannot be used until the car is going 100kph.

    It’s a fairly short run into turn 1 at Melbourne, so I imagine that KERS will be more useful getting drives out of corners in this case.

    [Reply]


  43.   43. Posted By: James M
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 1:38 pm 

    Damo, it’s because the Q1 and Q2 cars put in fuel after qualifying. They tend to put more in than the Q3 cars because the Q3 cars have to qualify with their chosen fuel amount.

    [Reply]


  44.   44. Posted By: Moog
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 1:38 pm 

    Some tracks will suit KERS more than others. The extra power down the straights of Monza or Spa for instance could prove quite useful.

    [Reply]


  45.   45. Posted By: iceman
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 1:56 pm 

    Will the KERS have stored up 80hp after just a warm up lap trickling round?

    I would think so… KERS is charged by engine braking, not by the disc brakes, I can’t see anything to stop them just switching the KERS to a charging mode and basically just siphoning power directly from the engine to the KERS batteries. With an 800hp engine running for 2-3 minutes it shouldn’t be too hard to store enough energy to give 80hp for 6 seconds.

    [Reply]


  46.   46. Posted By: James Allen
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 1:57 pm 

    Ok Jaytee, we’ll compare notes tomorrow afternoon. Button has the edge in race trim. Rubens is driving very well though

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  47.   47. Posted By: James Allen
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 1:58 pm 

    Here here, RB is one of the nicest blokes in racing and much faster than people think

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  48.   48. Posted By: James Allen
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 1:58 pm 

    KERS cars – McLarens, Ferraris, Renaults and Heidfeld

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  49.   49. Posted By: James Allen
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 1:59 pm 

    Don’t say I didn’t tell you…

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  50.   50. Posted By: James Allen
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 2:01 pm 

    Thanks KAB

    [Reply]


  51.   51. Posted By: Damo
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 2:04 pm 

    I see! So the weight figures issued are in fact race weights rather than qualifying weights. I thought they would put the race fuel in on the Sunday morning when they have seen what the weather is like and after analysing what the top 10 have done…

    [Reply]


  52.   52. Posted By: Aaron James
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 2:08 pm 

    I personally love the fact we have all this data, yeah, a bit of the unknown from tomorrow is gone, but there’s plenty of unknown in terms of the true long run pace of these cars.

    The Brawns are going to disapear into the distance much like the F2004 used to, but what happens behind them should be enthralling. Particularly how the KERS enabled Ferraris come through the field.

    Melbourne is not an easy track to pass at, but it is possible. The Ferraris being the only KERS cars anywhere near the front of the grid will be interesting to watch.

    As for the broadcast today on the BBC, for the most part it was very good. But I think a lot of fans are starting to regret getting what they wished for (a change in the commentary). I dare say I need to admit I was wrong. James, all is forgiven (even Monaco’s “senna” nonsense last year), can you sort out taking over from Legard for next season, PLEASE!? I’m still cringing from the embarrassing mess Legard made of qualifying today – particularly the massive fail that was the final 2 minutes!

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  53.   53. Posted By: Ben G
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 2:10 pm 

    I agree. Publishing the fuel load is a mistake.

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  54.   54. Posted By: Colin
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 2:13 pm 

    I wonder if the stored energy is finite, so it might peter-out on a long straight?

    From Snr. Alonso’s comments yesterday it sounds like drivers have the option of leaving it on all the lap, or storing energy for a power blip when they choose.

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  55.   55. Posted By: sldsmkd
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 2:14 pm 

    Fantastic! The Brawns are clearly a league apart from the rest of the field. I had a good feeling about them when they showed up for testing – put a tenner on each driver to win at Melbourne, stupid bookies and their 66/1 odds.

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  56.   56. Posted By: James Allen
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 2:15 pm 

    Good question, Martin. Not sure really, it’s never just one thing in f1, it’s how things work together.

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  57.   57. Posted By: David
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 2:19 pm 

    Looking forward to the race and the twitter feed James. See you all then!

    [Reply]


  58.   58. Posted By: Colin
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 2:22 pm 

    He was usually 2/10ths closer to Herr Schumacher than Edmund Irvine, and beat his number 1 fair and square several times.

    It must be strange for him looking at his new old-Boss and having flashbacks to those pre-race positional briefings at Ferrari.

    “Am I really allowed to race now?”

    I actually think he’ll be a far better development driver than Jenson. And he won Massa’s big cart race in Brazil. Brawn were shrewd to pick him over Senna.

    [Reply]


  59.   59. Posted By: Colin
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 2:29 pm 

    Ahh I see thanks for the KERS clarification, I didn’t know it’d be charged up ready on the grid.

    80 hp for 6 seconds, are those parameters fixed?

    My feeling is the KERS system is a time-bomb waiting to explode and ignite a fuel fire, and it will be abandoned after the first conflagration and injuries. (Sadly already one fatality.)

    But I must admit I’m warming to the idea of the flexibility it gives to drivers stuck behind a Trulli-jam.

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  60.   60. Posted By: Martin P
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 3:13 pm 

    Point taken. But 3rd on the grid definitely adds weight to the “object or follow” quandry you highlighted earlier. My gut (and casio calculator) suggests Vettel with a re-designed diffuser OR Button with an illegal diffuser removed would take it to the wire. Either way I’m thinking Vettel is the dark horse here over the season as Rubens & Jenson take points off each other. What a prospect – and we haven’t even had a single chequered flag yet!

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  61.   61. Posted By: George
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 3:14 pm 

    I think the KERS equipped cars might have an advantage at the race tomorrow, yes they’re a bit further down on the grid but Toyota’s DSQ will have helped. If the boost is as good as has been tipped then they could make some places off the grid, maybe another if there’s a safety car (which sounds likely), then as has been said before, it would work as a defensive weapon.
    It probably wont be enough to catch the Brawns but I wouldn’t be surprised to see a Ferrari on the podium.

    I’m most looking forward to how the green tires work tomorrow, do you think they will come back to the drivers after the graining phase, or will we be seeing some very slow stints do you think?

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  62.   62. Posted By: Shaun
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 3:15 pm 

    not the only one Patrice. After all the boasting about not cutting away for adverts this was a bad move. I was looking forward to the whole conference and to leave to listen to Richard Branson (Another RB to go with Ross and Rubens, if I were Jense I’d change my name to Rob – there is a conspiracy afoot) mention his brand half a dozen times in 5 minutes was priceless advertising.

    Fair shout to the man though – how many times did you hear the name and see the logo even though, according to Nick Fry, he hasn’t written a chq yet :-)

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  63.   63. Posted By: George
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 3:26 pm 

    I really enjoyed the radio commentary with David Croft and Anthony Davidson during practice, I agree that Legard isn’t up to James’ standard though (yet at least), he seems to have taken a leaf from Murray’s book as he’s very excitable, but sometimes I wish he’d just be quiet so Martin could tell us what was happening ;) .
    Saying ‘Formula L’ or whatever it was after about 5 seconds of commentary wasn’t exactly the best start to the year either.

    Jake Humphrey Did a great job at presenting I think, a lot better than I was expecting. It’s fun to see the sparks flying between DC and Eddie Jordan too, although I think EJ probably isn’t quite a good an interviewer as he thinks he is.
    It’s great to hear Ted and Martin again too, it’s nice to hear the familiar old stoic voices.

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  64.   64. Posted By: Peter
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 3:26 pm 

    Once again James, A BRILLIANT article. I’m now finding that I’m coming on this web page first to get the inside info on f1 because you are giving it all to us. Like many I am absolutely stunned that Brawn GP are hellishly faster than the rest and yet they’ve got much more weight on board. The only thing that can stop these guys now is reliability issues in the race tommorow.

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  65.   65. Posted By: Ross Petev
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 3:51 pm 

    I second this .. He’s already on my nerves that Legard, apart from that I enjoy it, and having E. Jordan and DC in the team is a good thing

    [Reply]


  66.   66. Posted By: Andy Fov
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 3:54 pm 

    > if we KNOW the car in P1 has 2 laps more fuel than the car in front of it

    “in front of it???” I meant “it’s in front of”. Apologies for the Murrayism!

    [Reply]


  67.   67. Posted By: Nathan
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 4:07 pm 

    I thought that Vettel was superb, I thought to have problem’s before Qualifying and still achieve 3rd was sign of a great driver to me.

    I thought that Barrichello and Button, after the two seasons they have had, deserve this more than anyone else on the grid.

    Yes, I don’t think this improves the spectacle either.
    But to see a Ferrari and a Mclaren not run over the line first in Qualifying was pretty special to me.

    Fantastic insite by the way James.. nice to see you keep into it.. I thought some people got on your back way to much.. great commentator.

    [Reply]


  68.   68. Posted By: Luciano
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 4:35 pm 

    Do you know what Williams were up to with their protest of Ferrari and RBR? Seems very strange…..

    [Reply]


  69.   69. Posted By: Zw426p
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 4:39 pm 

    What do you make of Kovalienen; he was running very heavy at 690Kg – where will this put him relative to the rest? Thanks for your insights.

    [Reply]


  70.   70. Posted By: Matthew
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 4:42 pm 

    Come on Jenson! Will this finally be the season when he proves his critics wrong? Also, is it me or does everyone want James Allen back on TV – even his previous critics want him back. COME BACK JAMES!

    [Reply]


  71.   71. Posted By: Stephen Kellett
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 5:06 pm 

    Legard didn’t even manage to introduce the programme properly. He said something like “Formula £%%£%$£… pause Formula One”. Completely flubbed his line.

    It was weird not hearing James’ voice. I only saw the repeat (too tired to get up for the real time showing) – kept getting references to “Ted” in the pits, but never saw him. Is that Ted Kravitz?

    [Reply]


  72.   72. Posted By: Arnet
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 5:11 pm 

    Agreed. This isn’t a day at the horse races, this is F1. Legard needs to take a pill and let Martin take the lead.

    [Reply]


  73.   73. Posted By: zdzisio
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 5:18 pm 

    I think it is pretty obvious that Kubica with his 45 kgs of fuel is planning first stint on softs – this tires do not last long and since you have to do them anyway it is not unresonable to go light in the quali. Of course it is always better to finish on softs ’cause the track has more rubber on then, but since the difference between the compounds is pretty big he might have a (slight) chance on caching the Browns.

    [Reply]


  74.   74. Posted By: George
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 5:23 pm 

    Good point, Heikki quite often plays the long game and he seems to have an easier time with the car this weekend than Hamilton, maybe he could catch on to the tail end of the points, especially if there’s a few retirements in front of him.
    On the other hand Lewis is running very light, I wonder if he might start on the soft tires and try to make early headway? That would sure be interesting with some fast Toyotas stuck behind him.

    [Reply]


  75.   75. Posted By: colin
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 5:26 pm 

    I agree with Peter, I now come to this web site first (use to go to Autosport.com ). what we have lost on the commentary we have gained with great articles and insight.

    Keep up the good work James and hope to see you back one day in the commentary box.

    [Reply]


  76.   76. Posted By: Robert McKay
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 5:37 pm 

    Alianora – Autosport says the FIA published the wrong number for Nakajima and it should be 685kg not 612kg.

    [Reply]


  77.   77. Posted By: JayTee
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 6:20 pm 

    Thanks James

    [Reply]


  78.   78. Posted By: JayTee
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 6:26 pm 

    Very bad move indeed. By the way, who was their pit reporter? Her enthusiasm when speaking to Lewis almost sent me back to sleep…

    [Reply]


  79.   79. Posted By: JayTee
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 6:35 pm 

    From Autosposrt.com: ‘‘Williams has withdrawn its protest against the Ferrari and Red Bull Racing (…) It is understood the protest related to the area of the car surrounding the front edge of the sidepods”

    Say what?

    [Reply]


  80.   80. Posted By: MartinWR
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 6:40 pm 

    Hopefully the outcome tomorrow will silence the gormless cretins who have been rubbishing Jenson for years, apparently without even actually noticing that he was driving second or even third rate cars. Payback time, I hope, but there’s many a slip betwixt …….

    As I understand it, the wretched KERS contraption is useable at the start. This could prove absolutely lethal. The melee at the first corner is always fraught. However throw KERS into the equation and the slower KERS equipped cars from several rows back could quite easily storm non-KERS cars in front and cause pile-ups that would wreck the succeeding race.

    Please, please, somebody rid us of this utterly unnecessary, irrelevant, ruinously expensive complication ASAP.

    [Reply]


  81.   81. Posted By: James Bond
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 7:02 pm 

    And now is obviouse, teams that last year kept evolving their cars now loose big time…

    Good job for Brawn, let’s hope tomorow more cars finish the race then last year…

    [Reply]


  82.   82. Posted By: lower-case david
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 7:18 pm 

    Brawns off, off and away, (Rubens dreading the radio crackling into life after the first pitstops, with ol’ Ross telling him to hold station, same as it ever was, eh?)

    … but after a shaky weekend, think i’m perhaps more impressed with the Vettel lap, both the driver and the car, let’s hope he can stick a nose in there and make things interesting. i like seb a lot, would enjoy seeing him mixing it.

    (although ultimately i guess the redbull season depends on the appeal, as there seems to be no realistic way to put the shady diffusers on the tight, upside-down newey rear-end)

    quick note for any bbc staff wandering by, in german the V is pronounced as an F, please stop mispronouncing Vettel, really, it’s not that obscure a language, and does get kinda annoying.

    (obviously not eddie jordan annoying, but annoying nonetheless … have we opened a pool yet for when DC snaps and “sticks the heid” on him … i’m going early and banking on the Malaysian humidity for an assist.)

    [Reply]


  83.   83. Posted By: Craig
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 7:23 pm 

    Not sure if this is the right place to say this but, although the BBC is doing a very competent job on its coverage of the Australian GP weekend, I really missed hearing your commentary while watching qualifying. It’s difficult to pin down but I think it is that the ITV coverage had a warmth about it, an almost tangible cameraderie between the presenters, which was so attractive. The BBC’s coverage so far is lacking this.

    All of us greatly appreciate your incisive insights into the sport we love on this website but be in no doubt that TV viewers will very much miss your authoritative, yet friendly, verbal commentary that we have so enjoyed and learned from over the last few years. I hope that somehow you can get back to live F1 television commentating sometime soon.

    [Reply]


  84.   84. Posted By: StrFerrari4Ever
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 8:19 pm 

    great article James very good analysis i know the Brawns are easily fastest but i hope for the spectacle they dont sprint off and dominate well my favourite driver Vettel has proved his a future star hopefully the racing will be close i think it will did anyone see in FP2 i think when Sutil was harrasing Raikkonen that was awesome if thats signs of whats going to happen tommorow then im up for it

    Regarding the BBC good coverage although the press conference shouldve stayed till the end but Legard is really annoying me already he needs to calm down and let the expert(Martin Brundle) take lead i do miss hearing you James everytime i watch the 2006 Turkish Grand Prix i still get goosebumps when Schumacher and Alonso fight to the line i hope the BBC gives Legard the sack and brings you onboard

    [Reply]


  85.   85. Posted By: natef1
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 8:19 pm 

    I would agree Craig, the BBC coverage felt a little bit “undercooked”, but we’ve only had 1 session and it was their first in 12 years, so let’s give them plenty of races to gel and get that warmth back.

    On a different note, does anyone know what the weird sound is on the onboard cameras? Don’t say it’s KERS, because it’s not, it happens on non-KERS cars.

    It sounds like the revs go down then jump right back up. I’m guessing just a camera sound problem… But just to be clear?

    [Reply]


  86.   86. Posted By: MattW
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 8:33 pm 

    I’m expecting some of the teams near the back to gamble on a safety car, so when it does appear they willl come in, put the super softs on for a lap or two behind the safety car, then put the medium compound back on.

    Would make sense for the Force Indias etc.. and should make for an exciting second half of the race as some people struggle with the super softs!

    [Reply]


  87.   87. Posted By: James Allen
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 8:34 pm 

    Thanks for that. I’m really enjoying the work I’m doing now, and loving the freedom to experiment with this space and fine tune the concept

    [Reply]


  88.   88. Posted By: Beka
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 8:35 pm 

    The cars are weighted withought drivers right? That means that we must add the weight of the driver to see the real fuel load. In case of ferrari that means Kimi is about 10 kilos havier than Massa. Correct me if I am wrong

    [Reply]


  89.   89. Posted By: Onyx
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 8:48 pm 

    Come on guys, give Legard a break!Its early days!I thought the BBC did well considering its their first crack at F1 for over 10 years.BBC always have the edge on ITV for sport-they will come through!!

    [Reply]


  90.   90. Posted By: shaun
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 8:50 pm 

    I think they withdrew the protest on the grounds that the rules could be interpreted in different ways by different teams.

    They made their point about the diffuser protest.

    [Reply]


  91.   91. Posted By: sean
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 9:00 pm 

    great stuff james but this has got 98 written all over it . Jenson & Rubs will be saying first one into corner one will win. The only thing that will stop them is reliabilty or a crash, on the times there showing with more fuel on board the could lap the whole field ala 98.

    As for KERS i cant see the benefit at all none of the KERS cars showed the pace of brawn and there carrying more fuel. They say race pace and quali are different beast’s but the gap is to large and with Ross’s race strategies the best in the paddock he will run this race like a puppet master.

    I know its only the first race of the season but with no testing at all the slower teams are going to find it that much harder to catch up. In past years Ferrari for example would have been testing a new diffuser with the test team in italy as we speak ready for the next round, this can no longer happen.

    This is going to be a very long season for most of these teams if brawn win the first four races which is quite conceivable the trailing pack might as well just concentrate in there cars for next season. This may be a change from the norm but nothing about this season is normal.

    Remember the rule changes were going to slow down the cars they haven’t, make the racing closer not with these times just another procession just different teams at the front,increase over taking no evidence in practice and don’t you have to be faster than the other guy to overtake them.

    [Reply]


  92.   92. Posted By: DanB
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 9:53 pm 

    Absolutely agree about Anthony Davidson on Radio 5 Live commentary, I thought he was excellent. Personally, I’d promote Martin Brundle to lead commentator and bring in Davidson as his co-commentator.

    [Reply]


  93.   93. Posted By: Malcolm46
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 9:53 pm 

    Cant wait for the race tomorrow morning, should be great race, its been a long winter waiting!

    I agree with the vast opinion of people here about Legard, I dont think quali was his finest hour, but so we see. Unfortunately the BBC dont really like admitting they were wrong, but hopefully they will get James back with Martin in the commentary box soon! I thought that David Croft does a very good job on the practice commentary.

    On KERS, its interesting that all the cars fitted with it werent really troubling the timesheets today, but lets see what effect it has in the race.

    Regarding the diffusers, how long James (assuming the appeal rules that Brawn etc’s diffusers are legal) do you expect before all the other teams can develop them and fit them to the cars, Spain maybe?

    Keep up the blog James, thanks, its a great addition and insight into the F1 race weekend!

    [Reply]


  94.   94. Posted By: Treaded Lurgy
        Date: March 28th, 2009 @ 11:14 pm 

    Great insight James- -have just discovered your site and will be staying with it all season – -and beyond.
    Checked out the Beeb’s coverage early this morning and agree with several comments here that it seems to lack the ‘chuminess’ that ITV had, still early days, first night nerves etc….

    [Reply]


  95.   95. Posted By: Les Kershaw
        Date: March 29th, 2009 @ 12:02 am 

    I have to chime in an say, since the start of the season I have switched form going to the usual websites to coming here to a) catch up on the ‘inside’ of F1. b) to read the comments from other f1 nuts.

    I love the info and personal feel of the articles. Keep up the great work James

    [Reply]


  96.   96. Posted By: Top Posts « WordPress.com
        Date: March 29th, 2009 @ 12:32 am 

    [...] Here’s how the race will unfold The fuel weights have been published by the FIA for the first time, under the new rules for this season. There are some [...] [...]


  97.   97. Posted By: Martin P
        Date: March 29th, 2009 @ 12:49 am 

    It wasn’t a great start was it? I could excuse it more if Legard wasn’t a highly experienced commentator already. He needs to remember he’s not on the radio now so he can say less – he’s trying to paint a picture we don’t need because we have those new fangled television things.

    As for Eddie Jordan – he took over. Both Jake and Eddie need to remember who’s the anchor. Jake allowed EJ to talk him into subservience. Hopefully the Director has sorted that before the race show.

    And while I’m whinging, their website is a mess too! Everytime I look at it something has moved to a different place. I’ve given up with it now and only Murray will drag me away from Allen on F1.

    [Reply]


  98.   98. Posted By: M__E
        Date: March 29th, 2009 @ 1:20 am 

    James (or anyone else for that matter!)
    the car weights on their own just tell us the relative differences between cars, and how many laps +/- they will stop before or after the first guy does. But to know what lap that guy will actually will stop on, how do you work that one out?

    and is the 2.5kg fuel a lap a good guestimate of what most GP laps are on the calendar, save for places like spa, and some of the longer circuits, and in those cases are we talking 3Kg per lap??

    cheers, and nice blog.

    [Reply]


  99.   99. Posted By: M__E
        Date: March 29th, 2009 @ 2:18 am 

    Clearly you have only been watching F1 post Schumi era…rubens is one of the best drivers in the field, yes a tier down from Alonso, Raikonen ect, but a ‘best of the rest’ top driver nonetheless..

    [Reply]


  100.   100. Posted By: M__E
        Date: March 29th, 2009 @ 2:25 am 

    aha! I just saw from an above comment (there are 90+ so Im not reading them all ;-D ) that the car and driver weight combined is 605kg…2nd question still stands though!

    cheers.

    [Reply]


  101.   101. Posted By: john g
        Date: March 29th, 2009 @ 3:14 am 

    i hate this publication of weights – we’d find out on sunday how long they were going to go, can we really not hang on overnight?

    watching someone put in a great pole and then outlast everyone in the pitstops, this would be much greater revealed during the race surely? and now, people like rosberg and webber know they are fuelled longer than the guys in front so they won’t bother trying to overtake! even the ones that are lighter will now just try to use pitstop strategies to jump a few places. ok that last point might not work but i’m pissed off and want to rant.

    [Reply]


  102.   102. Posted By: mp4-19
        Date: March 29th, 2009 @ 3:20 am 

    James,I dönt quite understand this, KERS as the name suggests is kinetic energy recovery system, now according to newtonian laws of physics,kinetic energy is the energy gathered by a physical body which is motion.(e=(1/2)*m*v^2). Now i am not sure how much energy will be generated by cars equipped with kers during the warm up lap.not much i suppose. Charging it fully before the start, violates & contridicts the very the purpose of its existence,which is to cönvert waste energy(brake) to electrical & then to mechanical torque. Now i would like to know from the FIA as to how much electricity the teams are wasting in order to fully charge their batteries. The purpose of kers is to utilise self generated energy. Will this procedure of charging the battries before the start put williams at an disadvantage? They are said to been using a fly wheel based energy system, which requires no battries as it is a mechanical system. It has no effect until the car is in motion. So imo kers should’nt be used on the start.

    [Reply]


  103.   103. Posted By: nickogs20
        Date: March 29th, 2009 @ 4:47 am 

    I’m enjoying the Beeb’s coverage overall I must admit, particularly their web stuff but also on tv. It’s bound to take a while for them to settle into a groove, making any judgements after the first programme of the season seems more than a little premature.

    I’m not a big fan of Legard’s, and would prefer James back commentating, but I assume were that to happen there simply wouldn’t be time to keep this site updated, certainly not to the extent it is at the moment. The blog’s been something of a revelation and I’ve always enjoyed reading what James has to say about the sport, so having a slightly inferior commentator (and I’m sure he’ll improve) is an acceptable trade-off I think.

    [Reply]


  104.   104. Posted By: Colin
        Date: March 29th, 2009 @ 8:06 am 

    I suspect you replied to the wrong post Sir.

    I already sang the praises of Mr. Barrichello here, and rate him very highly.

    I’ve been following F1 since 1963, attended my first F1 race in 1970. Do you remember those days? When James Hunt hadn’t yet kissed a girl, and Mr. Lauda had two ears.

    [Reply]


  105.   105. Posted By: Colin
        Date: March 29th, 2009 @ 8:17 am 

    “…so having a slightly inferior commentator (and I’m sure he’ll improve) is an acceptable trade-off I think.”

    “Slightly”?

    Mr. Legard has no passion for F1, it is a job for him. He pined to be a football commentator, and couldn’t wait to pack in following the F1 circus. The Beeb chose him because he’s “in-house”, and went to the right public school.

    James has the Right Stuff, and massive F1 credibility, as this new blog proves.

    Beeb’s loss, our gain.

    Just enjoyed following your Twitter race comments James alongside the Official F1 Live Timing, no pictures, yet it felt like I was there.

    [Reply]


  106.   106. Posted By: Alianora La Canta
        Date: March 29th, 2009 @ 1:42 pm 

    Thanks for clearing that up, Robert McKay :)

    [Reply]


  107.   107. Posted By: Zw426p
        Date: March 29th, 2009 @ 2:42 pm 

    Good call George; it’s a shame Heikki didn’t get far, we will never know if he could have delivered a decent result.

    [Reply]


  108.   108. Posted By: John Kilmartin
        Date: March 29th, 2009 @ 9:13 pm 

    If you want a change try the red button (Freeview channel 301/302) for alternative commentary by the R5L team. Anthony Davidson has been doing a great job. He is extremely enthusiastic and often quite technical…on both driving and to a lesser extent engineering.

    FYI they have been broadcasting a mixture of highlight programmes and full reruns (both commentaries) all day and will continue again on Monday and Tuesday.

    [Reply]


  109.   109. Posted By: JayTee
        Date: March 30th, 2009 @ 7:47 am 

    Very nicely predicted James :)

    [Reply]

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